Skip to content

United reeling as Rooney wants out

October 18, 2010

Cartwheeling all the way to Madrid? GETTY IMAGES

In January, Wayne Rooney was cartwheeling towards the Stretford End after heading a cup semi-final winner against Manchester City, capping another superhuman performance for the Red Devils in a glorious run of form. Amid jubilant scenes at Old Trafford it seemed the 24-year-old was finally fulfilling the immense promise of his early career and was ready to become the man to lead United and England into an exciting future.

How things change. Rooney’s Sunday League performances in the World Cup were mystifyingly bad. Then, lurid stories about his private life caused a media storm the likes of which do not impress manager Sir Alex Ferguson (but maybe explained Rooney’s distracted demeanor in South Africa as he wondered when the story would break).  Now, just days after publicly contradicting Sir Alex, the boy from Croxteth wants out.

Several players have crossed Ferguson and been shown the door. Jaap Stam, Roy Keane, Ruud van Nistelrooy and David Beckham have been the most notable victims of Ferguson’s wrath but none of them publicly expressed a desire to move on. Their shared mistake was to undermine their manager’s vice-like grip of authority on all matters Manchester United, whereas Rooney has apparently made it clear he wants out.

So how has the relationship between master and apprentice soured so rapidly? Rooney’s ineffectiveness on the pitch can not have helped. He is a shadow of his former self, with just a solitary goal to his name this season and way off the rampaging genius of last term. To Ferguson, though, the most damaging developments have probably been Rooney’s off-field behaviour. Allegations of sleeping with prostitutes and pictures of Rooney drinking, smoking and urinating in the street are not things that Sir Alex appreciates from his players. Rooney’s gargantuan wage demands in the same week as his comments questioning his manager’s assessment of his fitness may well have been the final straw, with Rooney relegated to the bench for the visit of West Brom on Saturday.

Rooney has only 20 months left on his contract, making a January exit likely, but where will he go? He has always said he does not want to play abroad so a move to United’s bitter rivals Chelsea or Manchester City could not be ruled out, risking the eternal ire of the United faithful. Joining Jose Mourinho and his old mate Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid could be the more likely destination. The striker may feel that running away from the constant spotlight on his private life is his only option and a tilt at glory with Europe’s most successful club too good an opportunity to miss.

Any move will be a bitter blow to United’s fans. Rooney’s performances last season marked him as approaching the status of successor to the clubs romantic idols of Best, Law, Charlton, Robson and Cantona. The sale of their best player for the second time in three seasons would be a bitter pill in a year when their cross town rivals have emerged as genuine title contenders. Perhaps the only winners in this sorry saga if Rooney is shipped out will be the Glazers, whose accounts will be boosted by yet another windfall.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: